I coached basketball at Oviedo High School during Blake Bortles time as Lion, and attended regularly attended home football games. Blake stood 6-4 with a lean, muscular build. He threw the ball accurately all over the field, and showed excellent mobility particularly for a player his size. By all accounts, he was an intelligent and thoughtful teammate. My thought at the time was, “this is what a division one quarterback looks like playing high school football.”
I did not know Blake personally though I comprehensively out-played him in the Senior/Faculty basketball game his senior year. I coached his younger brother Colby which requires a quick story. During a JV/ Freshman scrimmage, I was feeling a little gassy. Colby came out of the game, and made the curious decision to take a knee (football-style) on the side of the court. At a robust 6-2, he was positioned in the line of fire for a first rate crop-dusting. This lead to my favorite Colby Bortles quote of all-time, “Pink, you farted in my face!”
I was surprised when I started to hear that school’s were recruiting Blake to play tight end. What was he missing?
He signed with UCF to play quarterback….and was quickly bypassed on the depth chart by fellow freshman, Jeff Godfrey, a 5-8 quarterback from Miami. This was an especially grim scenario given that both players were in the same class, and at 5-8, Godfrey would not be leaving school early to pursue an NFL career. Blake resisted whatever temptation existed to transfer and kept working. Godfrey’s star began to fade, and Blake won the starting job. It’s worth noting that Godfrey briefly left the Knights himself, but returned in the role of wide receiver where he has become a integral part of the Knight’s offense.
Blake Bortles has not looked back. He was a solid season long starter as a sophomore, and this season made the “leap”. He led the Knights to a 12-1 season, a conference title, went 7-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less, and took the school their first BCS Bowl. Last night, Bortles passed for 301 yards, ran for 93 and accounted for 4 touchdowns in a 52-42 upset of Baylor, who entered the game as a 17 point favorite.
Blake Bortles is now a legitimate NFL prospect and regarded by some as the second best quarterback in the draft and a possible top 5 pick. There is nothing wrong with Blake Bortles!